Tarpon Energy Services, a Canadian supplier of electrical and instrumentation services, control systems, and integrated modular solutions, recently purchased a SMART kapp digital whiteboard to install in their Calgary office. The idea was to test the device out in Calgary to see the potential benefits of utilizing it in offices in separate locations. After Tarpon’s General Manager learned about the new technology and gave the go ahead to purchase, Tarpon employees began to utilize the device almost immediately.
“My wife works for SMART Technologies,” says Ken Pearce, Business Development Manager at Tarpon Energy. “[SMART kapp] came across her desk as something that looked really intriguing. I forwarded the concept and the pricing to the General Manager of [Tarpon] and he said to get it. He wanted to see how it would work here in the Calgary office, and if it worked in the Calgary office we might try to integrate something like it in the Edmonton office as well, at a later date.”
Tarpon’s Calgary office had been using the traditional method of writing on whiteboards; taking photos of the information that came out in the meeting and sending those photos throughout the offices to necessary parties. While the company does utilize different technologies in their boardrooms, including video conferencing capabilities, they had no solution that could compete with the ease of use that an analog whiteboard brings. With the free flow of information and quick collaboration that was constantly happening in meetings, there just wasn’t anything better to retain that information than the tried and true method of writing it on the whiteboard.
This is why SMART kapp was so perfect for the Calgary office.
“SMART kapp is a new category of technology. There’s really nothing else like it on the marketplace, which is a digital dry erase board or whiteboard,” says Jeff Lowe, Vice President of Marketing for SMART. “When you look at dry erase boards or even paper flip charts, they’re a ubiquitous tool in offices all over the world and have been for decades, and really have never evolved. But people love using them.”
SMART kapp was designed as a way to keep what people love, which is writing their ideas on a board, and bring it into the digital age by allowing users to capture their ideas to a personal device, store it on their devices as high resolution images, and then share those images with remote participants. The person that has the kapp board downloads a free app that pairs with the board by scanning a QR code on the board. In the app there is a button that allows the user to send an e-mail or text message to anyone they want, and any amount of people they want. Recipients can click on the link and through their browser, with no app downloaded, can watch what is being drawn on and erased from the board in real time.
“I like how it comes out of the box, hangs on the wall, scan the QR code, and you’re done,” says Pearce. “Other than that I like that it’s simple.”
That isn’t to say that the installation came without any hiccups. While it was simple enough to choose a spot and plug in the system, there were some connectivity issues initially. Tarpon Energy employees at the Calgary office overwhelmingly utilize Blackberry devices for their day-to-day work. When SMART kapp was first installed, Blackberry devices weren’t connecting to the device. The same went for some employee iPads. Soon enough, Blackberry came out with an update and, once updated, the phones began to connect with the system without a problem. This led to the discovery that out-of-date versions of the iPad also could not connect to the system.
“Unfortunately, because of our own devices, compatibility with them, and certainly with the age of my own iPad, initially it was a bit of a challenge to get it set up,” says Pearce. “Not SMART’s fault.”
Those issues have since been cleared up. The company will continue to utilize the new technology, and there is already talk of installing another SMART kapp in the Edmonton office to pair and create two-way meetings. For now, they’re enjoying the ability to write on a whiteboard and still send clear images to those that need it. We’ll see how things progress, but the outlook, so far, is great.
Video: Watch a video explaining how SMART kapp works.